Gimping Through Mountains of the Moon in Second Life

I’ve neglected this blog but not been totally idle. In addition to catching up on physical world sundries too long ignored I’ve been experimenting with Niran’s Viewer↑ and Gimp↑ to find easier work arounds for that tiling bug↑.

I doubt you share my obsession with this issue *grin* so I suggest you just look at the photos from a great visit I had to Mountains of The Moon↑. This is a roleplay sim based on the television version of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones↑. One of the things I immediately liked about the sim was that the rules you receive when you first land are simple, straight forward and didn’t leave me feeling intimidated and unwelcome.

I had a great conversation with Thane↑ who is one of the key people involved and was very impressed. If you are a fan of this story and enjoy roleplay I strongly suggest you go visit.

I’m a novice at both Niran’s and Gimp so there has been a double learning curve in my experimentation. I do like the viewer for the purposes of taking photos – there are a lot of settings and I’ve barely begun to play around with them but there is one fantastic feature so far that I love.

In Viewer 3.x the changes to the environment settings mean that I can’t adjust the east angle etc. unless I know the region default windlight setting – I have to select a setting before the other controls work. This means I usually wind up applying a setting of my own and then trying to match what the designer intended. In Niran’s I can use those controls without affecting the region default – you don’t need to specify windlight before having them accessible. Yay!  There are some things about the Viewer I’m not crazy about (e.g., I can’t search on the map which is weird) and I’ll stick with Viewer 3.x for normal visits to the grid.

The photo above is OK – but I didn’t like the way the horizon came out and so I decided to change the windlight and took the next image.

Not only did the tiling bug rear its grimy little antennae in the new photo but the line was 7 pixels wide. *gack* This brings me to finding my way around Gimp.

Photoshop↑ is way beyond what I’m willing to pay and for years I used Corel’s↑ product (quite happily). With the latter editor I knew how to use the “scratch remover” to deal with those tiling lines but I had made the decision to go with Gimp on this newer computer and hadn’t found the treatment I needed. Berry↑ had a link recently (along with other great tips) to a video↑ telling you how to remove them in Photoshop. So I decided to do some research and figure it out in the editor I was now using.

Gimp experts will be rolling their eyes at this point wondering what there was to figure out – remember I usually learn things when I need to and I learn them by poking and prodding and searching and just winging it.

I tried a lot of different things – the solution turns out to be very simple if you just download Gimp 2.8. Use the rectangular selection tool to grab the black line then go to filters/enhance/heal selection, adjust the width of the “heal” area and tell it to go.

One of the tips I found when searching for solutions was to use multiples of your screen size if you’re trying to take a large photo. My screen is the wrong shape for most of what I do but it occurred to me that if I stuck with images that were multiples of the size I wanted I could reduce them and try and hide imperfections.

This isn’t a necessarily wise or efficacious thing to do but I did discover another benefit. The photo of the house with the rocks doesn’t have a composition I’m happy with and normally I wouldn’t include it here. However, an obvious plus to taking a really large photo is that you can crop out a bit of it to create something you like better. :)

I’ll need to work on my ability to define the dimensions in a way that matches the shape I want (it’s probably in Gimp and I just haven’t found it yet) but this was a nice bonus to my adventures in photo editing land. :)

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3 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing, Honour :D

    Whenever I look at the East Angle setting in Second Life, part of the photographer inside me dies. Most of my art classes in High School (basically 4-years of independent study that earned a few college credits and kept me away from other students) centered on capturing the moment with as little manipulation as possible. Even choosing one shutter speed over another could make the final result an interpretation of a “real moment.”

    This photojournalistic approach became deeply ingrained. Questions such as “Should I clear this twig out of this clump of flowers?” or “Wouldn’t that beetle from that leaf over there really help this composition over here?” often kept me from making a picture. For one class I even researched and wrote an illustrated paper on manipulating photos, starting with the National Geographic Egyptian pyramids cover photo controversy (http://commfaculty.fullerton.edu/lester/writings/faking.html) and ending with comparisons of my work.

    As digital photography has advanced it is now commonplace to tweak a color without thought (as if one shot on Fuji Velvia film then decided later that the Kodachrome palette would have been better) or to even remove whole elements from the final image. I giggle when I think there must have been a time even before color photography when people debated whether cropping an image in the darkroom or using dodging/burning tools was an honest activity. Imagine how the journals would be afire today if someone admitted “I moved heaven and earth, literally, to make this shot when I put the sun on the other side of the mountain and made that valley deeper for deeper shadows.”

    Still, I have a few Windlight presets that I’ve made for specific types of pictures and I tweak others until things are just right. And I’ve often experimented with the manipulation apps on my iPad. Very little of what I shoot in SL is for documentation, but when its important, I put on my photojournalist hat, crank my graphics to Ultra to make sure I see it all, and I stay away from anything other than Region Default.

    Reply
    • I actually don’t like to do much to change things – well assuming I’m not in the “play with windlight mood”. :) Usually I want to move the east angle because the object I’m interested in doesn’t have enough light. The other case I’d put for moving it (or changing the time of day) would be those prim trees that need the light hitting them from a different angle to look more “natural”. :p

      Having said all that, there’s a tiny wee piece of me that would love to be an artist and all those sliders and buttons would be my way of picking up a brush. Now if I was only good at it. *grin*

      Reply
  1. Gimping Through Mountains of the Moon in Second Life | Second Virtual Life | Scoop.it

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